Woodward and Bernstein in Syria

On Friday night, I held a screening of All the Presidents Men — the Watergate movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford — for a group of Syrian and Palestinian writers whom I’ve been training to be journalists here in Damascus. As expected, they all got a few giggles out of the impossibly ideal conditions […]

Where Iraq Works

A Kurdish family celebrates Nowruz, a holiday marking the Kurdish New Year and the start of spring. Since 2003, no U.S troops have been killed in Kurdish Iraq. Kate Brooks/Polaris for TIME LIKE RESIDENTS OF BERLIN DURING THE AIRLIFT, inhabitants of Arbil–capital of the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq–get a little flutter in their hearts […]

The American Embassy in Lebanon

US Ambassador Feltman with with Lebanese-American Evacuees Last Summer I went up to the American embassy yesterday to add more pages to my passport, and absent-minded as I am, was surprised to find it closed for Washington’s Birthday. Of course, it’s appropriate that State Department facilities abroad honor our first president, but all these holidays […]

Is Lebanon’s Government in Danger?

The White House warning sounded ominous: Iran and Syria are trying to topple Lebanon’s democratically elected government with the help of Hizballah, said Presidential spokesman Tony Snow at a press conference on Wednesday. The U.S. may paint Hizballah as nothing more than a terrorist pawn of Syria and Iran, but it remains the largest political […]

Clerical Era

Shortly after I arrived in Damascus this summer, I dropped by the offices of Dr. Mohammed Al Habash, one of Syria’s leading religious scholars, to interview him about the rise of Islam in his country. But the Danes beat me to him. Habash’s Islamic Studies Center was hosting the first official Danish delegation to travel […]